You know when you meet someone so passionate and focused with something that it’s somewhat infectious? That’s how I felt meeting Cerys Cairns. Recently selected to play for netball for Scotland, Cerys has big ambitions and isn’t afraid of shooting high. Her and her mum Nicola stopped by the Small City office to give us the lowdown on her intense training schedule, what motivates her, and how she balances this with being a normal fifteen year old teen.
WHAT FIRST GOT YOU INTERESTED IN NETBALL?
When I was ten my mum took me to a netball camp: I was the shooter and my shots were just going in, one after the other. They were amazed! They told me to come back and try out for the under 12s netball, and it just took off from there.
WHAT’S YOUR TRAINING ROUTINE LIKE?
Mondays are training in Glasgow. But I also have to do a strength and conditioning session here first. Tuesday is the gym and I’ve also got Highland Dancing to go to. Wednesday is game day so we play a game in Glasgow. And also another strength and conditioning session. Thursday and Friday are gym days, where I do a training programme. Lastly, every second Saturday and Sunday I train with the ‘Under 17’s’ Scotland squad in Glasgow. Because I’m a shooter, I have to upkeep ball skills and shooting practice daily.
HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCING THIS WITH THE OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE, LIKE SCHOOLWORK AND SOCIALISING?
It’s quite hard. I think my friends understand if I can’t make stuff. Prepping
beforehand is really important – for example, if I got homework I’d do it in my free periods. This year my school have allowed me to do 4 Highers instead of 5, which has helped a lot with giving me free periods to catch up, especially if I’m training at night so I don’t need to cram it all in.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT PLAYING NETBALL?
It’s a team sport so we often rely on each other. When you’re a team you’ve got to put your part in: if you don’t then it just won’t work. We all have to work together. If you’ve got a really close bond with everybody, that makes the game even better. I’ve definitely made friends through netball too – a lot of my close friends are on the team with me.
When you’re a team you’ve got to put your part in: if you don’t then it just won’t work. We all have to work together.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU GOT SELECTED TO PLAY FOR SCOTLAND?
I started off in Netball Scotland’s development squad. We then found out that
Scotland had been offered the opportunity to play down in Loughborough at the school games, and that scouts would be going to competitions, development and district days to select people for the long squad. I was selected for the long squad and then from there we were given training sessions with Gail Parata – head Thistles coach for the Scotland squad. From the 26 of us in the long squad, they shortened it down to 12 – and I was one of them. I was on holiday when me and my family found out. We were all so excited.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MEMORABLE MATCHES?
The Scottish Cup Schools final. Even though we didn’t win – we were the runners up – I feel like our team were so close. It was our first time going into the Scottish cup so to get that far was great. Also going to Loughborough and playing for Scotland against Northern Ireland. I think that’s when our team “clicked” well and we got a win out of it.
WOULD YOU SAY THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU HAVE BEEN A GREAT
SOURCE OF SUPPORT?
Cerys: Yeah. Definitely my mum, driving me everywhere! I wouldn’t be where I am now without my family and friends.
Nicola: I’ve got a really good friend who I play netball with who has been really supportive, helping Cerys work on her fitness and helping to raise money and trying to raise sponsorship. She’s been really helpful with ideas too.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO WANTS TO START
Just to have fun. Have fun, make friends, and just give it a try!
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS WITH THE FUTURE – DO THEY INVOLVE NETBALL?
N: In the short term, she’s training just now with the under 17s squad. Next January they select a short squad from that who will go to play at Netball Europe. So that’s her aim just now – to be selected.
C: I’m definitely going to keep playing netball. My long term goal is to keep working and hopefully get into the Scottish Thistles Team when I’m older - this motivates me to keep going, along with my love for the game, the buzz I get from it and the support I recieve from my teammates and coaches.
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